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Mar 12, 2014
Christ-Centered Preaching

Preaching Christ from the Old Testament: Jesus in Every Scripture Part 2 by Dr. Walt Kaiser Jr.

Dr. Walt Kaiser Jr. shares more about preaching Christ in the Scriptures, looking specifically at 1 Corinthians. |
Preaching Christ from the Old Testament: Jesus in Every Scripture Part 2 by Dr. Walt Kaiser Jr.
Image: Wally Gobetz / flickr

1 Corinthians 2:2

A third passage that is alleged to teach that Jesus should be the exclusive subject of all preaching and therefore he was presumably the subject of every verse in the Bible reads as follows:

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Cor 2:2).

The apostle Paul deliberately decided in this situation, where he was ministering to those who usually prided themselves on rational argument and superior kinds of human wisdom (as the Greeks of that day were accustomed to argue), to follow a rather simple course of action in the presentation of his message.

He felt it would be improper for him to use any other methods or reasons, especially in his situation, that would help prove the truthfulness of the Gospel, wherein Paul would pose as a great academician and apologist, or as an eloquent speaker, to gain any evangelistic results, or regard for his person as an accomplished rhetorician.

Instead, he "resolved" in this city to present Christ alone and his crucifixion (2:2), so that if any response was to be garnered from this crowd, it would have to stand as a demonstration, not the superior attractiveness of the quality of the message, or the persuasiveness and effectiveness of the speaker, but only as "a demonstration of the Spirit's power," and not as a tribute to Paul's oratory or gifts of persuasion (2 Cor 2:4b).

In that way, no one in this Corinthian town of vaunted intellectuals could say that their faith rested on the wisdom of any man; instead it had to rest entirely on the power of God (2:5).

It would be unfair, therefore, to take this verse as an authorized or normative model for presenting the Gospel in this manner in every situation. Paul was directed by the Spirit of God to focus in this situation solely on Jesus Christ and his crucifixion.

He wanted all possible explanations for the results of those who were impacted by the message to rest where it ought to rest: on the power of God and not on his oratory skills or on the adequacy of his rational arguments.

1 Corinthians 1:22-23

A fourth passage is also appealed to in an effort to show that our preaching must be Christo-exclusive.

Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. (I Cor 1: 22-23).

Once again, Paul had occasion to stress the centrality of his message: it was about the crucifixion of Christ and his resurrection. While Jewish people always wanted a miraculous sign or miracle from heaven to convince them of the divine source of Paul's message, while the Greeks were the philosophers who wanted to talk about wisdom, Paul said "no" to both of these cultures.

Actually, if the Jewish people would open their eyes, the greatest sign of all was right there before their eyes: Jesus crucified, buried, and raised again from the dead. Furthermore, the wisdom the Greeks were looking for was "the wisdom of this age" that usually came from the rulers of this age (1 Cor 2:6).

But God had a wisdom that "none of the rulers of this age understood" (2:8). That wisdom went beyond the empirical evidences that the eye could see, beyond any traditions that the ear had ever heard, or beyond any aesthetics that the heart or mind had ever conceived (2:9).

But it was precisely that type of wisdom that God had made known to his prophets and apostles. Thus, the focus was on Jesus who was in himself a revelation that was replete with a depth that far outclassed anything found in human sources. That was what this particular situation especially called for.

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Related Topics:Jesus; Old Testament; Preaching
Posted:March 12, 2014 at 9:00 am


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